It’s amazing what a different world we live in than just one month ago. I am sure that many of you who are reading this post are doing so while on some kind of stay at home order from your government. We are living in the age of COVID-19 and being at home without much choice to go out is our new normal. I have transitioned to working my primary job from my basement so I have lots of time to work and listen to music so that’s what I have been doing.
If any of you have been following my posts on Facebook, Twitter or here, you will know that I have been stumped on what song I want/need to finish out Expanse. I had felt that since I made a “title track” for Currents, that I should start including a title track in each new album. So, I tried for months to write a track that I could call “Expanse” and that I felt would encapsulate the new direction I feel like my album is going. No matter how much I wanted to write something, I kept telling myself that this song had to be a certain thing and abandoned almost anything that I had worked on. This was a very selfish and restricting thing to do.
I remembered in the past that I would often feel the desire to write my own work when I heard new music that inspired me. Usually when I am in the basement working, I have my Pandora station playing and although I like the music, it rarely has anything very new. So, I checked my Twitter feed and saw that a few artists I respect have created new albums. I streamed those new albums and it really did the trick to get my mind thinking of new sounds that I could do and how I want to make some of my new music sound.
I had two songs that I had felt fond of and had written bits of over the past year. However, one felt like it was an awesome melody but I had no idea for a chorus. I had another song that had an amazing chorus but no real melody body to speak. I decided to merge them into a single song… and it worked!
That’s correct, I am finally writing the final song for my album! I only have a working title at the moment which I don’t generally share. I believe it will be Lunar in naming. It is a perfect combination of the two separate tracks. I cannot wait to finalize it! Keep an eye on my feed for more details. You know I won’t release anything until I am personally happy with it. Who knows, I might make more material and add it to the album, time will tell.
I have some great news! I have officially dropped “DJ6i – Solar Wind”, the fifth track from my upcoming Expanse EP.
I was working on a song in a similar vein to Street Fire but realized that I was ‘forcing’ a track rather than letting it come naturally. This has never been my style and has never worked well. Luckily I changed my own mind and allowed myself some creative liberty. I took the rather common speed for this album – 145bpm and started to play with some melodies that I had brought up in my mind. I wanted something that would run smoothly on top of arpeggios but carry a rolling bass line.
Over the next few days, the track began to take shape and I liked the energy. However, in a very different path than I normally take, I made a decision to do something altogether different – use voices! I know! I have had a longstanding rule to never use voice effects or anything like singing in my music. However, when I was layering the first cut of the melody, I decided that a cut-up-vox like I hear in many VIP mixes and such added a nice layer of ethereal presence that the track needed. I once again played with the Logic Pro X “drummer” tracks but used a considerable number of tweaks to give the drummer more ‘swing’ and uniqueness. In the end, it turned out quite well.
So what is the meaning of this track? Well, as you know, this EP has been my attempts to stretch myself more as an artist rather than lock myself into a pattern of styles. Hence, this album covers an Expanse of styles and influences drawn from many places. Well, I have been drawn out of my home in Oklahoma and starting my family’s life anew in Kansas City. The more time I spend here, the more I realize that this is where I was meant to be despite my constant opposition to change. Well, the solar winds are the force from the sun that ejects positively charged particles into the galaxy that will strike all planets in the galaxy, charging them with the particles that sustain life. So life is throwing me into new places and new situations but with a positive charge that sometimes only makes sense after the change occurred.
I hope you enjoy this! Since I have decided to remove Boom Room from my tracks, this will be the fifth track. That means that I only need two more tracks to finish off this EP. Who knows what this new world I live in will send my way. Stay tuned!
Hey fans! I had a realization yesterday – Kansas City, MO (KCMo as we call it), my new home, has an amazingly rich musical history. I know, as a musician you’d think I research this stuff before I moved but – well, life happened. Anyway, yesterday I was just curious about the artwork atop the Kauffman Convention Center (they are these four pillars that look like cudgels on top of smoke stacks) so I did some research. This ultimately threw me into a great series of articles on the history of KCMo and – it’s music. I feel like an idiot for not knowing these things:
Kansas City, MO is considered the birthplace for American Jazz. Now, to my credit I’m not a jazz aficionado but I am a music history buff so you’d think I know.
The 18th and Vine area, not far away from the downtown core, is considered the Jazz Holy Land and also hosts the Blue Room which launched MANY well known acts.
A few singers from here made it very big over time. Of my generation of music – Puddle of Mudd started here, so did Melissa Etheridge. Even Eminem spent a few years in St. Joseph, MO on the eastern edge of the KCMo metro area.
One other very well known act from my history – Tech N9ne – is from this area and I had no idea!
As a random bit of fun, you will recall that I wrote Street Fire after visiting a certain neighborhood in KCMo and feeling the energy there. It turns out that this neighborhood is only a few miles away from 18th and Vine. Perhaps that is part of why the energy was so strong there. Whatever the case may be, I am enjoying a city that has a culture of music and I can’t wait to learn more about it when the time allows.
If you’re bored, here is a list of tracks that I think you’ll like from KCMo folks:
Hello fans! I am excited to announce the release of the fifth song from my upcoming EP, Expanse. I call this new song “Street Fire” and it’s dedicated to the people in my new city (see the post about Relocation if you aren’t sure what I mean). But the true motivation is something very cool and deserves to be told.
If you do not know, I am a Christian and I am not afraid to admit it. One of the things I have always enjoyed is seeing the different ways that God can use my skills. I’ve never written a song for God, nothing could speak to him. But, this is close. You see, my family and I agreed to work with a great mission called “Freedom Fire” and they do some great outreach things in the Kansas City area. One of them is a Friday Night celebration where they invite almost 100 kids from an impoverished, inner-city apartment complex to a night of fun with face painting, sports, food, etc. I had the honor of volunteering at this event with my wife and kids. I was amazed at the positivity of the kids even though I saw the very dangerous and scary world they lived in. It reminded me that you can find a fire in people off the streets that burns brighter than many churches.
As a result, I combined hip hop elements, beats, trap and techno elements to this track. I actually wrote the beat the day after I saw the kids and I could just imagine them dancing to it. This is a track unlike any other track that I have made and it has a great mission! Check it out!
Hey friends! I have been talking about this track for several weeks now and I released it on SoundCloud a while ago but I was holding out hope that I could get a cool video made for it but I simply don’t have time. With that being said, you can now listen to “Burning Star” on YouTube. Enjoy!
I think it’s safe to say that my decision to modify my style has paid off in massive dividends. I am happy to release my second track on my techno themed album. This is a sweet and calming track with some amazing melodies. I think the chorus of this song is probably the most amazing one I have ever made. It brought me to tears and I am not even lying.